The ADA Law


Are you required to provide a sign language interpreter?

To view full version of video go to the ADA Business Connection  Ten Small Business Mistakes. This thirteen-minute video identifies common mistakes that small businesses make when trying to comply with the ADA and addresses the importance and value of doing business with 50 million people with disabilities.

Americans with Disabilities Act The ADA prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.

What type of businesses fall under ADA Title III (Public Accommodations)?

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses open to the public to ensure that individuals with a disability have equal access to all that the businesses have to offer. The title III regulation covers — Public accommodations, Commercial facilities, and also Private entities that offer certain examinations and courses related to educational and occupational certification. Places of public accommodation include over five million private establishments, convention centers, retail stores, shopping centers, dry cleaners, laundromats, pharmacies, hospitals, museums, libraries, zoos, amusement parks, private schools, day care centers, health spas, bowling alleys, hotels, theaters, restaurants, doctors’ and lawyers’ offices, optometrists, dentists, banks, insurance agencies, museums, parks, libraries, day care centers, recreational programs, social service agencies, and private schools. Commercial facilities are nonresidential facilities, including office buildings, factories, and warehouses, whose operations affect commerce. It covers both profit and non-profit organizations. Unlike the employment section of the ADA, which only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, ADA Title III applies to all businesses, regardless of size.

What are the requirements under ADA Title III:

Public accommodations must furnish auxiliary aids when necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing, vision, or speech impairments, unless an undue burden or fundamental alteration would result.

Auxiliary Aids

“Auxiliary aids” include such services or devices as, qualified interpreters, assistive listening headsets, television captioning and decoders, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDD).

Undue Burden

The business does not have to provide an interpreter if doing so would result in an “undue burden, i.e., significant difficulty or expense.” However, in determining whether providing an interpreter would result in an “undue burden,” the business must consider: (1) the cost of the interpreter and (2) the businesses overall financial resources. The business may not refuse to provide an interpreter because the cost of the interpreter exceeds the professional’s fee for the office visit. Providing an interpreter will hardly ever result in an “undue burden” on a business because the cost of an interpreter will likely be insignificant when compared to the overall financial resources. The business may also use this service as a business tax write off. Public accommodations covered by the ADA, are expected to treat the cost of an interpreter as part of the overhead cost of operating a business.

ADA Title I: Your Responsibilities as an Employer

Title I of the ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities from employment discrimination. Click Here to learn more about your responsibilities as an employer to provide Reasonable Accommodations.

Tax Credit

Small businesses with 30 or fewer employees or total revenues of $1 million or less can use the Disabled Access Credit (Internal Revenue Code, Section 44). Eligible small businesses may take a credit of up to $5,000 (half of eligible expenses up to $10,250, with no credit for the first $250) to offset their costs for access, including barrier removal from their facilities (e.g., widening a doorway, installing a ramp), provision of accessibility services (e.g., sign language interpreters), provision of printed material in alternate formats (e.g., large-print, audio, Braille), and provision or modification of equipment.